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Urban Coast Institute

Apply Now for UCI Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Scholars Summer Research Grants

The Urban Coast Institute (UCI) invites Monmouth University undergraduate and graduate students of all disciplines to apply for 2021 Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Scholars Summer Research Grants. Funding is available for projects proposed by students that will be completed under the guidance of a faculty mentor, or projects proposed by a faculty member that will be completed with the support of student researchers.

For the first time this year, two exceptional student proposals will be selected to join Monmouth University’s interdisciplinary summer research Living and Learning Community. The program allows students to live on campus over the summer with other summer scholars while working collaboratively with a faculty member on a project. Students must be undergraduates with at least two semesters remaining after the summer to be eligible.

The UCI seeks to fund research projects that advance the understanding of:

  • Enhancing consideration for social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion as coastal communities adjust to a changing climate
  • Risk and resiliency of coastal communities and environments
  • Coastal migration in the age of climate change
  • The blue economy
  • Coastal ecosystem adaptation planning
  • Financing resilience
  • Coastal community capacity building to address climate change

Proposals are due by Friday, March 22, at 11:59 p.m. To apply for Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Scholars Summer Research Grants, visit this page (Monmouth student/staff login credentials required). Questions may be directed to UCI Associate Director Thomas Herrington at

Requirements and Additional Information

  • Faculty are encouraged to work with students to submit proposals. Students submitting proposals must identify a faculty sponsor and mentor to oversee their research.
  • Funding is available for students at University research student rates for up to 10 weeks of work (@$3,120/student). A stipend of $800 is available for faculty mentors.
  • It is anticipated that funding is available for 3-5 student research proposals in 2021, including funding for two undergraduate students to participate in Monmouth University’s Summer Scholars Program.
  • Students must present their work at a Summer Research Symposium in August and provide a final report or product summarizing their research at the end of the 10th
  • See application for more details and guidance.
  • Proposals will be evaluated by a panel of three Monmouth employees for research relevance, methodology and research plan, and the furtherance of the mission and goals of the UCI.

Watch: Herrington Discusses Ocean City Flooding with Associated Press

The Associated Press interviewed UCI Associate Director Tom Herrington about Ocean City, New Jersey’s growing struggle with coastal flooding. Herrington, an Ocean City native, says in the story’s accompanying video segment (above) that climate change poses a threat to the barrier island community’s future. “The question is, how long can you stay? I think we have one more generation left that can sustain what we have, but at some point it will be too costly.”

Herrington Lecture Examines Sea Level Rise Threat to Coastal Communities

As part of Brookdale Community College’s Global Citizenship Project’s lecture series, UCI Associate Director Tom Herrington gave a virtual talk on Feb. 9 about the impact of rising sea levels on coastal communities. The lecture was sponsored by the American Library Association and moderated by Brookdale Assistant Professor Judith Ungar.

Student Researcher Examines Climate Change Communication in India

Graduate student Lisha Samuel recently completed a paper detailing her fall research on climate change communication in the city of Kolkata, India. Rechnitz Family/Urban Coast Institute Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Law Randall Abate served as a faculty mentor and the project was supported with funding from the UCI.

We caught up with Lisha recently to ask a few questions about her takeaways from the project. Read what she had to say and download a copy of her paper below. You can also watch this video of her talk on the topic from Monmouth University’s fall Climate Teach-In.

Paper Title: Climate Change Communication in Kolkata: Applying Communication Theories to Address the Threat of Climate Change Displacement

Student Researcher: Lisha Samuel

Year and Major: Graduated December 2020 with a master’s degree in communication

Q: What interested you in exploring the topic of climate change communication and why did you choose Kolkata, India, as a case study?

Climate change communication is a fairly a new topic. I have always been interested in climate change and my background in communications was a great fit as I wanted to conduct research on the Indian media and use communication theories for my proposal. My reason for choosing Kolkata was because I grew up in India and understand India’s mindset towards climate change. I wanted to learn more about India’s approach to climate change and how the coastal communities were being affected. Kolkata is the second largest city in India after Mumbai (where I grew up). It was a valuable focus for the paper because it is a city that is surrounded by rivers and is the fourth most vulnerable city in India to sea-level rise.

Q: Your paper notes that you found many “missing links” in climate change communication in India. What were some of the most significant and what risks might those gaps pose for the populace of vulnerable areas?

There are two major gaps in climate change communication in India. The first is a language barrier because most news coverage is conducted by English-language newspapers. In India, different states speak different languages; therefore, vulnerable populations that do not speak English do not receive appropriate information and warnings about climate change threats. The second gap is the Indian mindset on climate change. Indians believe that climate change is a Western concept and that they are being burdened with a responsibility that should be shouldered by Western developed nations. Due in part to the Indian’s government failure to recognize the importance of climate change policies, only 7% of the Indian population knows what climate change is. The coastal vulnerable areas are facing severe challenges due sea-level rise; however, they lack the resources or knowledge to adapt to these impacts, including the threat of forced migration.

Q: What do you believe can be done to improve climate change communication in Kolkata?   

The media can be a very effective mechanism to increase climate change communication in India. Incorporating an agenda to report climate change and tell the public compelling stories about climate change impacts would help increase awareness of climate change. Using All India Radio (radio available throughout India), creating more animated short documentaries, increasing the number of trained journalists, and engaging popular Bollywood actors and cricketers would facilitate this necessary transition in communicating the imminent threat of climate change in Kolkata.